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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbrewster Date: Dec 11, 2003 3:23am
Forum: etree Subject: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

A theory may be emerging on a way to experiment with easing access:

* pick a period of time for a test, say 2004
* respect individual tapers and uploaders who say "no audio versions" for particular shows. Uploaders would be a practical way to filter this.
* after a time to let this all settle, convert other shows to 192Kb/sec MP3's
* see if it increases or decreases our user population significantly
* strongly encourage lossless formats for uploads (education)
* openly discuss the evaluation of this system about this time next year.

You may ask-- why a test period of a year? well we are an archive and we think long term. Our culture makes us hesitant about taking things out of archives (images of burning come to mind), and restrictions that last forever. Forever is a long time.

In this pass, should we do high-resolution ogg's as well to try to push open standards?

What do you think?

-brewster

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffchops11 Date: Dec 11, 2003 3:32am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

brewster,
i'm completely indifferent to the mp3 hosting(well, not really, but i've decided not to get involved). The only thing that makes me hesistate with this is the fear that the tapers/seeders/uploaders who are very anti the mp3/ogg proposal will want current shows pulled and will stop providing material. (i only mention this because i've read many comments mentioning it) i'm wondering if it's worth the trial period if it has the chance ofhaving such a negative impact on the current archive status.

cheers
ed

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 11, 2003 4:01am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

who say "no audio versions"

Just to clarify again, is that a typo for "no lossy versions"? It doesn't "parse" otherwise.

Also, I recommend adding a distinct bullet about *bands* who say "no lossy versions", just to be perfectly clear that any recordings from Howie Day, Pat McGee Band, or any other artist who specifies it, will be off limits for these other access formats. (Their "No" override is in effect even if tapers/uploaders don't say "no".)

Otherwise, looks good to me! With this model, tapers with strong feelings *will* have some say over format handling of their own recordings.

I think this is the closest to a reasonable compromise you can get in this situation. :)

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-11 12:01:21

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 14, 2003 3:02am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

One more bit for emphasis since apparently it might not be clear enough to some:

*Any lossy version will simply be *supplements to*, not replacements for, the main lossless versions.

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Poster: niuphan Date: Dec 11, 2003 9:01am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

"openly discuss the evaluation of this system about this time next year"

-If it is decided that hosting degraded audio files was a bad idea, are we going to delete these files off of the servers?

-If it is the position of the archive to think "long term", I cannot understand how hosting mp3's is parallel with that idea. When bandwidth is affordable to the masses, no one will have a need/desire for lossy audio files. There is no reason at all a person would rather listen to an a lossy file vs. a lossless file.

Some people argue "I use them for my portable mp3 player and I hate having to take the time to convert SHNs to mp3". Well the portable music player "Karma" by Rio supports not only MP3's, but FLAC as well! Over time, more and more companys will support lossless files for their portable music players. Some people want mp3's around so they can get an idea of how the show sounds (hehe). My solution? Download a few lossless tracks, you don't need to listen to the whole show to get an idea of how it sounds.

In my opinion, the archive is doing the exact opposite and thinking short term.

What is the purpose of having degraded lossy audio files stored on the archive 5,10 years from now? No one will be using them! Does anyone want to bet on that?

I know I'm probably beating a dead horse, but I felt compelled. Just my opinion folks, not trying to bash any of you mp3 lovers out there.

This post was modified by niuphan on 2003-12-11 17:01:53

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbrewster Date: Dec 11, 2003 9:24am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

-If it is decided that hosting degraded audio files was a bad idea, are we going to delete these files off of the servers?

yes.

for instance, we had old divx files of the prelinger movie archives at one point because it was the only viable low bandwidth movie format. we dont do that format anymore.

-brewster

This post was modified by brewster on 2003-12-11 17:24:48

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Poster: kdawg Date: Dec 13, 2003 4:02am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

> -If it is the position of the archive to think
> "long term", I cannot understand how hosting
> mp3's is parallel with that idea.

My take is that when long term is an issue, we need to choose the most prevalent format. In 20 years there will definitely still be mp3 players, but it's quite likely that shn decoders will be very hard to find, and might not even exist for the operating systems of the day.

> When bandwidth is affordable to the masses, no
> one will have a need/desire for lossy audio
> files.

First of all, the majority of people still use dialup and therefore they're denied access to the archive because of the bloated files. I have 380 kb/s DSL and it takes all night to download a show. Then I have to unzip, shn -> wav, and encode to mp3 at 160kb/s. That process really sucks. And the mp3 is perceptually sonically identical to the "lossless" format.

> There is no reason at all a person would rather
> listen to an a lossy file vs. a lossless file.

I disagree -- sound files bloated by almost 10x are very cumbersome, and there's no reason for it. I challenge anyone to be able to tell the difference between a 160 kb/s mp3 and a .shn version of one of these live shows in a double blind a/b test. The sonic environment these shows are recorded in is generally absolutely terrible. We're lucky to get > 30 dB S/N, response outside 40 Hz - 15 kHz, THD < 5%, negligible acoustic phasing, no idiots hollering near the mic's, etc. An MP3's perceptual coding distortion is mouse nuts compared to all that. I can hardly even tell when I encode at 128 kb/s, and even then it's crowd noise distortion that's most noticable, not the music.

I think that the archive is more about capturing and these amazing moments in time and sharing them with the world. We're depriving a lot of people of this by using nonstandard formats. Sorry, but a lot of people aren't going to go through the 30 minutes of software installation and education it takes to listen to this stuff.

I would happily pay $5/month for access to all these shows in mp3 format.

> Over time, more and more companys will support
> lossless files for their portable music players.

I really doubt this will happen en masse. The vast majority of consumers can't tell the difference in sound, have never heard of Shorten and don't care what lossless encoding is anyway so it's probably not worth the R&D expenditure.

> Download a few lossless tracks, you don't need to
> listen to the whole show to get an idea of how
> it sounds.

That's still too much of a pain. A single shn file takes me 10 - 30 minutes to download. Bah, forget it. And I'll never do that at work -- when you're hammering your employer's networks with that kind of bandwidth it raises all sorts of red flags.

> What is the purpose of having degraded lossy
> audio files stored on the archive 5,10 years
> from now?

. They're sonically identical to the original
source (for humans. Bats *might* be able to
tell at 160 kb/s, but the archive isn't for
them. :^)

. More people will use the archive (many of my
friends don't bother with the PiTA steps to
be able to listen to the shows).

. Better longevity. MP3 decoders and players
are already used by almost everyone and
software is readily available. There's no
guarantee that Shorten and FLAC won't be
obscure in 5 years. There will be a
successor to mp3, but I think it will be
adopted later than people expect. And when it
comes time to convert, it'll be easier to do
it from MP3 than from .shn.

> No one will be using them! Does anyone
> want to bet on that?

Yes. People still use cassette tapes and CDs today, so count on MP3 being around for well over a decade.

So that's my $.02. To be clear, I'm 100% in favor of the archive moving to MP3 format.


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Poster: thoman8r Date: Dec 13, 2003 2:22pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

My take is that when long term is an issue, we need to choose the most prevalent format. In 20 years there will definitely still be mp3 players, but it's quite likely that shn decoders will be very hard to find, and might not even exist for the operating systems of the day.

That just doesn't make any sense. People said the same things about cassette tapes, LPs, and virtually any other audio or visual medium that's existed and it never ends up being the case. In 20 years, when 24-bit/96 khz DVD-Audio is the norm (and probably even on the way out), no one will even remember mp3s.

And you're right, shn is a dead medium. FLAC, however, is an open-source project that has a strong developer base and because of this and it's support for 24-bit/96 khz audio there's no reason to believe it won't be around for years to come. All it takes mp3 players to recognize new file formats is a simple firmware upgrade, so there's no reason to believe we'll be stuck with mp3s.

They're sonically identical to the original
source (for humans. Bats *might* be able to
tell at 160 kb/s, but the archive isn't for
them. :^)


This assertion is categorically false. MP3s are not even close to being "sonically identical" to lossless audio. I don't know if you're trolling or just have terrible hearing, but I (and most other people I know) can easily tell the difference between 192 kbps mp3 and an shn.
I think even Erich and Diana will have to agree on this.

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Poster: Erich Date: Dec 14, 2003 12:31pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

This assertion is categorically false. MP3s are not even close to being "sonically identical" to lossless audio. I don't know if you're trolling or just have terrible hearing, but I (and most other people I know) can easily tell the difference between 192 kbps mp3 and an shn.
I think even Erich and Diana will have to agree on this.


Of course, it would be ignorant not to agree with this. I must admit, I cant tell the difference between 196 and shn on my computer, but that's cause of the speakers. I know the difference otherwise.

Its like the difference between live music being played in a club and recorded music. passing by a club, you can tell if its a live band, its just sonicaly different enough that you can just tell.

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Poster: kdawg Date: Dec 15, 2003 2:09pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

> In 20 years, when 24-bit/96 khz DVD-Audio is the
> norm (and probably even on the way out), no one
> will even remember mp3s.

We'll see... bitrates might creep up, but I still think we're going to be stuck with the mp3 format for a long time.

> All it takes mp3 players to recognize new file
> formats is a simple firmware upgrade, so there's
> no reason to believe we'll be stuck with mp3s.

Technically it's easy, but it's going to take time for the masses to switch over. The new format's going to have to be built into Windows. :^( I guess I could make the Explorer argument here -- Opera and Netscape are better browsers but no one uses them because they don't come with the computer.

> This assertion is categorically false. MP3s are
> not even close to being "sonically identical" to
> lossless audio.

For LMA stuff they are. The fidelity of the recordings is somewhere between AM radio and halfway to FM. Using lossless encoding for these shows is akin to using a $10,000 large format camera to take pictures of stick figures.

> I don't know if you're trolling or just have
> terrible hearing, but I (and most other people I
> know) can easily tell the difference between 192
> kbps mp3 and an shn.

OK then do this: Using a decent encoder, make mp3s of a few of these non-board-access live shows. Encode at 128, 192 and 256 kb/s. Get yourself a good pair of headphones (AKG 240S or better) and have someone play the files along with the lossless version in random order, and try and tell which is which. Every time I try this people do far worse than they expect, usually not being able to tell the differences at all. I remember once a musician friend of mine was badmouthing my MD player saying it sounded harsh and unclear. So I did a simple A/B test between my CD player and an analog (not SPDIF! That means it went through yet another D/A and A/D conversion!) MD copy and guess what? He could tell the difference only about half the time. Same as flipping a coin. It's such an ego thing to say you can hear things that others can't. More disturbing was a test I took part in with my class of audio engineers -- these self-proclaimed "golden ears" couldn't even tell the difference between a radio shack speaker and a Yamaha NS-10M, yet they always swore up and down what crap the RS speakers were and the Yamaha's were sooo accurate!

And BTW, I don't have bad hearing. For one example, when I tagged along with my friend who was auditioning high-end speakers (Energy's, Dynaudio, etc.) I was the only one who thought the high frequencies in the right speaker of a set that he liked was a bit off. Sure enough, the tweeter's dome on the right one of these $700 speakers was dented.

On studio recordings and professionally recorded live shows, sure, 128 kb/s MP3s are easy to spot. 160 kb/s is still pretty hard and you have to know what to listen for. But for the LMA's live recordings of PA speakers (by *far* the biggest contributer of distortion in the signal chain) the perceptual encoding distortion from 160 kb/s is just not audible except to a *very* few (I'm talking your Bob Clearmountains et al). It's buried in all the other garbage.

Try the above experiment.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbleblanc Date: Dec 16, 2003 2:53am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Try the above experiment.

I tried this with 2 tracks - "Shine" which is d1t2 from this recording (a soundboard/matrix) and the 4/3/98 recording of Piper (Phish - AKG 461s > D8). I wanted one SBD and one DAUD for this.

I used 192kbps for both because that was the source of both Dave and Brewster's comments. I used mkwACT for the encoding of the MP3's.

Playback was PC > DiO 2496 (D/A) > RCA Outs > Sony Receiver > Sennheiser HD575's - el cheapo dogs of the Sennheiser product line, but still decent headphones.

Conclusion: The difference is *highly* noticeable for the SBD recording, there's a "swirliness" in Travis' cymbals that isn't in the original wave file. When I play it back through my speakers instead of my headphones I can still notice it, it's really annoying and I find it unlistenable.

The DAUD is harder to notice, but if you listen for it it's still there. Again, Fish's cymbals make it really noticeable and it sounds almost like Mike has been turned down in the mix a little, but maybe that's just me. I can still notice the difference over my speakers, possibly only because I know where to expect it - but it is still there.

I agree with Dave, it's most definitely noticeable when you play them next to each other.

In 20 years, when 24-bit/96 khz DVD-Audio is the norm (and probably even on the way out), no one will even remember mp3s.

I'm pretty sure that they will be around at least 20 more years, as will Shorten and FLAC. MP3's have been here for about 7+ years now (I remember downloading them over dial-up back when I was a senior in high school in 1996/1997) and they are still the #1 format for music on the internet. They won't be going away anytime soon.

However, as it has been pointed out numerous times, the MP3's are not being offered as a replacement, but as a supplement. You can still tell a good recording from a bad one using an MP3 sample. You can still tell if you like or dislike the band using a MP3 sample. Folks across the oceans over a dial-up connection can sample the collection using them. And anal audiophiles like myself can stick to lossless. :)

Personally, I like Brewster's recommendation. Try it for a year, allow uploaders to make the decision on MP3's or NO MP3's when they import the show, and revisit the idea this time next year. It's the best middle ground we've got right now.

-Brad

This post was modified by bleblanc on 2003-12-16 10:53:20

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffJonathan Aizen Date: Dec 16, 2003 2:44am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

If you have the patience, I'd try it using a variable bitrate MP3. I find those are prime :)

Jon

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbleblanc Date: Dec 16, 2003 2:55am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Is that what you intend to use? Brewster mentioned 192kbps.

This post was modified by bleblanc on 2003-12-16 10:55:34

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffJonathan Aizen Date: Dec 16, 2003 3:09am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I was planning to make a variety of bitrates, including VBR.

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Poster: thoman8r Date: Dec 16, 2003 3:20am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I agree with Dave, it's most definitely noticeable when you play them next to each other.

Thank you, I think most reasonable people with halfway decent hearing would come to the same conclusion. There have been times I have received an mp3 sourced show in a trade and I am always able to tell *within seconds* that it came from mp3.

I'm pretty sure that they will be around at least 20 more years, as will Shorten and FLAC. MP3's have been here for about 7+ years now (I remember downloading them over dial-up back when I was a senior in high school in 1996/1997) and they are still the #1 format for music on the internet. They won't be going away anytime soon.

Technological advances in computing and digital audio would have to come to a stunning halt for this to be true. Will mp3s be around in 2,3, 5 years. Yeah, most likely. Beyond that it's a pretty safe bet they will go the way of the dinosaur, replaced by The Next Best Thing, which hopefully will be losslessly compressed 24-bit/96khz files that are small enough to transfer and store by most people. This has been the trend of both the audio and computer industries, and I see no reason why mp3 would be any different.

Personally, I like Brewster's recommendation. Try it for a year, allow uploaders to make the decision on MP3's or NO MP3's when they import the show, and revisit the idea this time next year. It's the best middle ground we've got right now.

I would be ok with this as a compromise, provded the LMA promise to continue to honor taper (not uploader) requests regarding mp3 conversion after the 1 year period if they decide to continue ahead with hosting mp3s.

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Poster: niuphan Date: Dec 16, 2003 5:46am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I'm really beyond words with some of the things I am reading. Quoting the top front page of the Live Music Archive:

"etree.org is a community committed to providing the highest quality live concerts in a lossless, downloadable format. The Internet Archive has teamed up with etree.org to preserve and archive as many live concerts as possible for current and future generations to enjoy"

This type of discussion would NEVER fly on an etree discussion board/email list. If the archive is so closely teamed up with etree.org, why don't we bring this discussion/topic to the etree discussion list?

I know these MP3's will only be supliments to the current lossless shows, but can they be stored on different servers? How about the Open Source Audio page???? Why the LMA? Why confuse the mission statement that is so clearly posted on the front page of the LMA??? Open Source Audio's mission seems MUCH more appropriate for MP3!

It is pointless to get into an argument over whether MP3 sounds just as good as a SHN/FLAC.

100MB FLAC file compared the same 10MB MP3 file. That's a lot of missing audio information!!! If your ears can't tell the difference, it's right there is the file size.

We could argue till the cows come how as to how long MP3's will be around and how long SHN/FLAC will be around. But as you are ALL aware, technology moves fast. What happened to Real Audio?

Open Source Audio is the place for these mp3 files. If that doesn't make sense to the decision makers, at least SEPARATE servers?

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 16, 2003 9:30am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

this discussion/topic to the etree discussion list?

No need, we interested etreers visit here every day in droves thanks to Tom and Jon's handy crosslinking. Not just me, bunches of other people too. :)

In any case, speaking from many years experience in that list, a much er, "zestier" discussion has occurred here already than would ever happen in the etree discussion mailing list. ;) Thanks for the debate!

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Poster: niuphan Date: Dec 16, 2003 1:08pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Diana, you hit it right on the head, the archive has attracted MANY etree members. I'd be curious to know how many etree members actually know about this discussion? How many etree members/contributors are we going to lose as a result?

The one thing that impressed me about the archive is the data/audio integrity. That is what brought me here and kept me here.

I'm not speaking for them all, but MP3 users are not the most quality concious people in the world. Source information is a very LOW priority to them. Hosting MP3's is only going to attrach MP3 users and their lack of regard for source information and generation loss etc etc etc. If you do not believe me, please see FURTHURNET. Half the SHNs on furthurnet don't even have source info. Furthurnet has no quality control or standards.

I'm more worried about the type of users we are going to attract. Education is not the answer, you are not going to learn if you DO NOT CARE.

Can someone provide a justifiable reason not to host these MP3's on the Open Source Audio page instead? Different servers?? If we can get a clear separation between the two formats, I think that would be a compromise.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 16, 2003 11:13pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

reason not to host these MP3's on the Open Source Audio page instead?

Here's the related feedback I got on that from tapers who have been discussing this elsewhere in a taper community:

Comment 1, re nontraders:
"perhaps through their exposure to the mp3's at the acrhives they will discover the wonders of SHN/FLAC"

Comment 2:
"perhaps placing the mp3s on a different site that isn't dedicated to the lossless archival of shows (because yes, mp3 does go against that). but then i think...well, they've alreayd got a place for hosting files. everybody already knows about it. why add to the confusion and separate the lossy files? then somebody might find this as their source of downloads and not realize what else is out there! i think it's a decent idea to host mp3's along with the shn/flacs. not only does it make your recording more accessible to people... but it poses a question to the uneducated...what are these other files? why are they so much bigger? why are they available for every source while mp3's are only there for some? should i be getting shn/flac? and thus we have education."

He's right, the educational angle is key. If you separate the copies, you *lose* a key opportunity to expose visitors to the higher quality option. And as a teacher and mother, I strongly disagree with your assertion that education is not an answer to something. ;)

BTW I've gotten the impression from that colloquy (as well as here) that more tapers at this point are willing to at least try out the present compromise/trial that Brewster has presented, in comparison to their reactions of a couple weeks or months ago. It appears we *have* a workable compromise here, that we can try to show a "good-faith effort" on.

As with everything in life, no compromise can make everyone 100% happy though. We can only approach that asymptote. ;)

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-17 07:13:38

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbleblanc Date: Dec 16, 2003 5:38am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

i would be ok with this as a compromise, provded the LMA promise to continue to honor taper (not uploader) requests

I'll volunteer my time to fix any uploader errors if there's an issue. I won't comment beyond 1 year because I'm sure there will be another discussion and opinions may change.

-Brad

This post was modified by bleblanc on 2003-12-16 13:38:09

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 16, 2003 6:20am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Gosh Brad, that is so sweet! :) You have been missed!

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-16 14:20:45

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Poster: kdawg Date: Dec 16, 2003 9:23am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Hey Brad, (and all)

Ahhh -- I see where we're askew:

> I used 192kbps for both because that was the
> source of both Dave and Brewster's comments. I
> used mkwACT for the encoding of the MP3's.

Therein lies where we're not seeing eye to eye -- I just tried that encoder and it's terrible. MKW's 196 kb/s setting sounds as bad as CDEX (which uses the LAME encoder) at 128 kb/s! But I'll personally send you some beers if you can hear MP3 distortion with cdex using the LAME encoder v 1.30/3.92 at 192 kb/s, MPEG1, normalize off in a legit *blind* test. I used your SCI board sample as a test: the drum fill at about 11:48 really brought out the MP3-ness. To me it sounds identical to the .wav file at 160 kb/s.

You can download cdex (it's free) at:
http://download.com.com/3000-2140-10226370.html?tag=lst-0-1

I think the MKW software is where people are getting sour on MP3 -- don't blame mp3! MKW is just a bad implementation.

> Conclusion: The difference is *highly* noticeable
> for the SBD recording, there's a "swirliness" in
> Travis' cymbals that isn't in the original wave
> file.

Totally agree for the MKW version. And the applause at the end is "swirly" too. But it's totally not there with my CDEX version.

> When I play it back through my speakers instead
> of my headphones I can still notice it, it's
> really annoying and I find it unlistenable.

I wouldn't say unlistenable, but yeah definitely annoying, especially on a recording as good as the SCI one.

> The DAUD is harder to notice, but if you listen
> for it it's still there.

Yep -- crowd noise is the major offender.

> However, as it has been pointed out numerous
> times, the MP3's are not being offered as a
> replacement, but as a supplement.

That's cool with me. But I think it's worth exploring encoding with CDEX (or other decentencoder) at 160 or 196 kb/s assuming no one can tell the difference. If the Archive can afford to keep lossless copies around and have servers that can handle that kind of bandwidth then great, but I think properly encoded mp3's will be "the highest quality" (as per the charter), the LMA will have wider appeal, and the admins won't have to deal with the headache of having two copies of everything around.

> Personally, I like Brewster's recommendation. Try
> it for a year, allow uploaders to make the
> decision on MP3's or NO MP3's when they import
> the show, and revisit the idea this time next
> year. It's the best middle ground we've got right
> now.

Sounds reasonable and fair to me. I think the uploaders should also be educated on what mp3 encoder to use (if they so choose) so there aren't any lousy MP3s available that will give MP3 a bad name.

Cheers :^)

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbleblanc Date: Dec 18, 2003 11:45am
Forum: etree Subject: Late Followup - kdawg

I think the MKW software is where people are getting sour on MP3 -- don't blame mp3! MKW is just a bad implementation.

Whoa, you are right on the mark with this comment. I didn't use the CDEX encoder, only because I'm working off my hard drive and that looked geared to ripping straight from a CD. However, I did download the LAME v3.93.1 executables and started playing around with various levels 'n stuff. MUCH better results, and you're right - there isn't all that much difference between a properly encoded 192kbps MP3 and the original. If you listen really hard, it's there, but only with headphones on...

Thanks!

-Brad

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffJonathan Aizen Date: Dec 16, 2003 10:11am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I intend to use LAME to do the encoding, for the variable bit rates, I'll use -preset standard flag, and for other bitrates I'll use -b {64,128,192,256}

Jon

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Poster: dgrayshn Date: Dec 16, 2003 10:56am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

so much for debate.. you admins are speaking as if it is a forgone conclusion that there will be mp3's here..

why not just take down the etree message now.. I dont see how anyone who is part of etree could stand for this..

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 16, 2003 11:22pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I dont see how anyone who is part of etree

I'm "part of etree", I can send you a summary of my views if you missed 'em before. (j/k, no reader could've missed- I must be a top-volume board poster here now as well as in etree venues. ;) ).

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-17 07:22:20

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbleblanc Date: Dec 16, 2003 11:45pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I dont see how anyone who is part of etree could stand for this.

Count me in too. I've been involved with etree since 1998.

-Brad

This post was modified by bleblanc on 2003-12-17 07:45:53

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Poster: dgrayshn Date: Dec 16, 2003 11:39pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

another thing... no one has pointed that more and more bands are going to start selling live shows themselves.. in mp3 and shn/flac.. previously some bands might not have been worried about archive because only audiophiles or hard-core fans might have gone to download shn/flac..but once you add mp3 and open it up to everyone i bet you many bands will not be thrilled about that and either pull out or ask that this stop..especially if it is hurting their sales for any reason..

ALso if mp3 is such a viable solution that you guys are confident will be around in 10 years why is it I'm looking at a portable player that supports flac and I know I'm not allown..

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 17, 2003 12:41am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

previously some bands might not have been worried about archive... open it up to everyone i bet you many bands will not be thrilled about that

Hm, the logic doesn't follow on this. Bands that have said yes to archiving are already well aware that it increases exposure to and availability of their music in some form, because we've even highlighted that in "pitching" the idea to them. Presumably they've already overcome "worry" in their cost-benefit analysis, prior to saying "yes" at all. That's typically why they decided to be trade-friendly in the first place.

Again, they know they can place limits on the available form here (sbd vs aud for instance; or, just this show vs not some other show; later another limit, lossless and lossy vs just lossless).

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-17 08:41:28

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbleblanc Date: Dec 17, 2003 12:19am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Also if mp3 is such a viable solution that you guys are confident will be around in 10 years why is it I'm looking at a portable player that supports flac and I know I'm not alone

Please see my posts above. Just because it's supporting FLAC, doesn't mean that the whole world will convert to FLAC in 5 years. For one thing, most folks don't consider FLAC a replacement for MP3 because the files are much larger. A 20GB iPod can hold 10,000 MP3's versus only 1,000 or so FLAC files.

However, this has very little relevance to the discussion. MP3 isn't a "Solution", it's a feature. If MP3 fades away and people stop using them, the feature will probably be removed from this site. It's that simple. If another format pops up as better, we might discuss adding it instead. The reality is that we have a band right now waiting for us to add them so they can point their fans here. In other words, some bands *want* them here. We have a few bands that don't want them here and have added that in their policy (i.e. Howie Day) - so we won't add any to that artist's collection.

If it bothers bands, they are free to change their policy regarding MP3's and we'll remove them. I'll be surprised if they get all heated up and decide "It's time to ban the archive and piss off all our fans over there!!!" rather than just changing their policy.

For example, SKB just had a change in their policy and their archivists sent us a note. We swapped a few friendly emails to ask if we needed to remove recordings from our collection per the change, and they said no. Presto.

The current solution aims to please the most people as possible. Those that like the idea and those that don't. It's not an ALL OR NOTHING solution. If you contribute a recording and don't want MP3's, then you choose that by (probably) unchecking a checkbox. Presto, you just opted out. I just don't see how my wanting them with my work and the Archive offering that as an option to me should offend you when it isn't forced on you. If you don't want to see them next to your contributions, then go ahead and choose "No".

-Brad

This post was modified by bleblanc on 2003-12-17 08:19:44

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Poster: thoman8r Date: Dec 17, 2003 12:53am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

If it bothers bands, they are free to change their policy regarding MP3's and we'll remove them. I'll be surprised if they get all heated up and decide "It's time to ban the archive and piss off all our fans over there!!!" rather than just changing their policy.

I think the archive should get explicit permission from each band before allowing mp3s, even if there isn't anything in their policy. Some bands, especially less established ones, may not have a clear cut written policy on distribution. Just because mp3s aren't explicitly forbidden, it can't be assumed a band will be ok with it. They agreed to allow the archive to host lossless copies of their shows, that's all.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 17, 2003 1:00am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA and band contacts

Good point, the plan is indeed to "ping" them all beforehand if they haven't said anything about mp3 in their policy notes.

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-17 09:00:27

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Poster: kdawg Date: Dec 17, 2003 12:11am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I have one practical question... what happens to the server performance if the LMA gets popular?

Say 300 people are downloading at once. 500 kb/s transfer per user would be a reasonable target -- that's 100 T1 lines. One business-class T1 line costs about $500/month and I don't know how much 100 times that would cost. OK now a rack server generally only has 1 Gb/s IO, so you'd need on the order of 100 servers (at about $2,000 each) that can all somehow access the entire database in real time. And there would need to be some SuperAdmin that can handle the load balancing and maintenance.

Does the LMA have that kind of financing?

Point being, by having people download lossless vs. MP3 you either need to have ~5 times the server power, can only connect to 1/5th the people or will have to reduce download capacity by 5 (to 100 kb/s in my example above). But then again, if there were MP3s then I think the LMA would be vastly more popular. Which I reckon would be great for the bands. (Assuming that people have spent more on these bands because of the LMA like I have).

Just thinking out loud -- thought I'd throw that out there.

K-dawg

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 17, 2003 12:57am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I don't know anything about archival tech/$ details, but as a back of the envelope thing, a typical shn or flac might be 30MB, vs ~3MB for the same in mp3.

So I'm guessing archive can support 10 nontraders ("quick listening copy" type visits) for the "price" of 1 trader-class visitor.

Further, some nontraders who have been visiting to date and have been forced into trader-class by the offerings, will be switching to the lower bw solution for them (we've seen a number of posters who've said, "I d/l the shns and then throw them way after making the mp3s I want.") That's space for 9 more nontraders (or ~1 more trader) freed up every time right there.

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-17 08:57:27

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 14, 2003 12:22am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

MP3s are not even close to being "sonically identical" to lossless audio... I think even Erich and Diana will have to agree on this.

Heck yeah, I think a lot of the inability of others to perceive differences comes from listening to all their files, shn or mp3, on crappy little PC speakers. I mean, if that's the only way you're hearing music, it *is* a waste of time to d/l shns strictly for listening purposes. I can't tell the difference between wav and mp3 (various bitrates) on my PC- but I sure can on my stereo system. (And an important disctinction on the stereo, it's not just the ears that hear, the body feels the non-heard parts that are gone from the mp3 version- elements that are why deaf people still attend rock concerts).

Lossless *does* rule for me. :)

...So Dave, can you live with Brewster's latest idea?

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Poster: zorak Date: Dec 14, 2003 5:21am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

"-If it is the position of the archive to think "long term", I cannot understand how hosting mp3's is parallel with that idea. When bandwidth is affordable to the masses, no one will have a need/desire for lossy audio files. There is no reason at all a person would rather listen to an a lossy file vs. a lossless file."
----

Your perspective regarding bandwidth and storage is quite skewed/western centric.

When the thousands, if not millions of 128MB mp3 players are being sold at garage sales for $5, and a computer that can interface with it costs $25, and a 33.6 dial-up connection is realistic...

10 years from now, I would argue that the penetration of Broadband will be tremendous. However, the penetration of dial-up or slow wireless links across the internet "frontier" is where a large majority of the Earth's population will be located.

I guess it all depends on what it is that you think you are distributing. If you are distributing Art, Love, or the ineffable feel of the musical expression as it was captured in that moment in time, then clearly it's not about flac/shn/mp3/ogg. That's what live shows are about for me, and gritty cassette tapes are as effective as a flac in conveying that experience.

If you are interested in having a repository of pristine audio at the expense of less people in the world having the experience, that's fine too I guess.

The most salient comparison would perhaps be to the books that are hosted on the archive. The Wizard of Oz is a great book.

I think that while it's great that the Archive allows me to download the book at over 10MB per page in the original TIF scan, that prevents the Wizard from affecting/infecting the same amount of gray matter that could be effected with a slightly more "accessible" version. 10MB tif pages don't fit well onto a Palm for casual reading.

Should I be required to download 2.8 GB in TIFF format, then OCR/correct the text myself?

It's clearly an apples to oranges comparison, I concede that, however, the number of people that can taste the fruit at the end of the day is what we should be keeping in mind.

http://www.infoworld.com/article/03/11/21/HNinternetgrowth_1.html


This post was modified by zorak on 2003-12-14 13:21:06

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 22, 2003 10:14pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

The most salient comparison would perhaps be to the books that are hosted on the archive. The Wizard of Oz is a great book.

You pick an exemplar for the Internet Bookmobile. Speaking of that, heck, smaller-size music files could lend themselves to a future "Internet Mediamobile", bringing global live music along with books, to kids like these
http://www.anywherebooks.org

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Poster: dgrayshn Date: Dec 11, 2003 3:43am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

2 things quickly come to mind..

#1 .. I think it will be all to confusing to have some shows with mp3's and SHN/Flac and some not.. sends a mixed message to users..

#2 I'm not worried about educating uploaders (nearly as much) as I am about educating downloaders...

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 11, 2003 4:02am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

It'd be a mix just like there's a mix of artist collections with just-AUD, SBD/AUD, etc.

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Poster: Erich Date: Dec 14, 2003 3:47pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

#1 .. I think it will be all to confusing to have some shows with mp3's and SHN/Flac and some not.. sends a mixed message to users...

I dont see how. It would just be because some bands allow and some bands dont, just like why theres no phish and dmb on here. Anyway, theres a bigger mixed message sent to the regular online downloader when some shows have the MP3 disclaimer and some dont.

#2 I'm not worried about educating uploaders (nearly as much) as I am about educating downloaders...

Most of my posts revolve around that concept. there needs to be a better way to educate people other than NO. That way the people thta arent going to just do it anyway know why. That concept needs to carry over to all the boards, all the communities, and everywhere where theres online trading taking place. But that needs to start from the tapers, and there are few that i know of that will change their giant disclaimer in favour of an educational link.

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Poster: cortex Date: Dec 15, 2003 3:19am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I'm not sure if I'm mis-understanding or if this was not said explicitly, but who is encoding the mp3's: the uploader or someone at LMA?

I would hope that only shn/flac can be uploaded and someone at LMA does the encoding, that way we ensure that there is a lossless version of all music uploaded to the LMA if it is decided in the future to not allow mp3's.

I do agree that the bands view of pro-mp3/no-mp3 should supercede the taper/uploader.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 15, 2003 4:13am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Plan is to have lossy supplements encoded at the archive's end. I would definitely want say Jon's tools here, instead of some random uploader, to be in charge of an mp3 bitrate. ;)

As an admin specifically and pro-lossless person in general I will be trying to discourage people from uploading in mp3 and to educate that the "parent" uploaded copy be lossless only. :)

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Poster: Paul Rennix Date: Dec 27, 2003 9:54am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

So... forgive me if this has been asked...

But is there a way for a taper/uploader to set his/her policy reguarding this?

i.e. can a taper/uplader opt in or out of mp3 conversion as a global preferance?

Is there a way for a taper/uploader to make this decision retroactive for recordings that were uploaded prior to now? (when we were under the impression that this was a pure, lossless archive?)